The First Tournament

OK well I’m a ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ kind of guy so while things are fresh in my brain (well, as fresh as they can be from about 18 months ago) I’ll continue with some history.

For context (and in case you don’t want to read my last blog post, which is here in case you do) my eldest son Cai and I started to play X-wing just under 2 years ago in September 2017. By November time we had a core set and a couple of other ships that we had bought based on what we like in the movies (oh those early innocent days).

So many cool ships! Spoiler alert – not all are good.

Christmas was approaching and my often difficult to buy presents for 11 year old was now a lot easier to buy presents for – X-Wing ships. I picked up some new ships from my local store and also bought a couple of pre-owned ships from eBay in the run up to Christmas. I was excited for him (well, us) to open them and see what fun we can have and what interesting lists we could put together.

Since I highlighted this in my first blog post I thought I’d mention it again. I’m not an elite player, I’m not even a good player. Everything I know about the game (which isn’t a lot really) I have had to learn. I’ve learnt from Facebook posts, podcasts, blogs and from Google searches. Something that I want to avoid doing is making people feel excluded by using terminology that’s not familiar. Maybe you know stuff and that’s great. But maybe you don’t and so if I find myself wanting to use any phrases that I didn’t know when I started then I’ll always try to explain it as I go. Having thought about this subject while starting to put this whole blog site together I decided to create a Jargon Buster page. It’s a list of commonly used terms within X-Wing that people new to the game may not know. I hope you find it useful!

So, here’s my first acronym – FLGS (friendly local gaming store)

At this time our FLGS decided to put on a tournament. My son and I were very excited to take part in our first competitive play despite the fact that neither of us still really knew what we were doing. We booked our places regardless. Now I mentioned it was our first competitive tournament for a reason. We had zero idea what we were doing and really do mean zero. It was to be a 4 round tournament on a Saturday at our FLGS. Now if you read my last blog post you will know that our FLGS is actually a small unit inside a big Tesco. When it hosts tournaments and casual play we literally put tables outside of the store near the tills of Tesco and play. Personally I think this is great. If you need anything to eat or drink you’ve got a huge selection in the store plus there is a Greggs and a Subway INSIDE the Tesco, without going outside! Parking is free and under cover and it’s open really late. You do feel a bit exposed with so many people going by and it can be a little distracting at first but I love it there.

It’s small and it’s odd but it’s ours and we love it.

So the day of the tournament arrives and we are not prepared. Like, at all. It’s about 4 days before Christmas and in the back of my mind I’m half tempted to give my son all of these gifts early so that we’ve got lots of ships to pick from for this tournament. I know in my heart that I can’t do this so I reluctantly accept that we have to use what we already have at our disposal. My son decides to go with imperial (which is mostly still his preference now) although I can’t remember exactly what list he flew. I went for rebel. Rebel is really my go to faction. I don’t know why exactly, maybe it’s from supporting the good guys while watching the movies as a kid or maybe it’s from developing in affinity for the characters reading the X-Wing book series. I don’t know.

Anyway we arrived at the FLGS and I don’t have a list. I pull out the only ships really available and try to throw something together in the 15 mins I have before we start.. What I come out with, it turns out, was pretty terrible. From memory I flew two X-Wing T-70s and an X-Wing T-65 (remember, this is from the ‘old days’ of 1.0 where Rebel and Resistance were the same thing) and possibly some torpedoes of some description.

Now it is almost 18 months ago so I can’t give you an exact list nor a super descriptive battle report but there are some things that I do remember. I lost the first game, quite convincingly I think. in the second game I play someone from the Cardiff store who I didn’t know and got beaten. Quite convincingly. Now the third game sticks out because I had an NPE (JARGON ALERT!)

NPE – negative play experience.

Now before I start, I’ve got nothing against the guy. I don’t know him, I haven’t come up against him since then and if I did it would be totally fine. No issues here. We are both playing a game in a competitive tournament and I’m pretty new at it all. If there’s a way to gain an advantage and go on to win that game because my opponent did something wrong or stupid, I believe that’s fair (not nice, granted, but it isn’t unfair). I did however feel the what happened was a bit unfair. While we were about 4 turns in and all our ships were engaged we had set dials and my opponent’s ship was being moved first. While moving his ship my opponent accidentally knocked one of my x-wings. The ship gets put back roughly where we thought was suitable and we carried on with activation. When it became the time the turn of this particular X-Wing to move I reveal the dial put down a template and move the ship to find that one corner of the ship was off the board by around 2 mm. Now looking back at this situation with bit more experience and confidence I think I would possibly handle the whole thing differently (although I am very non-confrontational).
Firstly I guess I’d try not to be so risky with my manoeuvre in the first place!
Anyway my opponent insisted that the ship has flown off the board and should be removed. I felt that I should be given some leeway since he had knocked my ship and it was only marginally out of the play area. Now I’m not one to rock the boat, we didn’t call over a judge and I just took the ship away and went on to lose the game. When I was finished I was annoyed because up to that point I had been competing a lot more than I had in the first two games felt I had a chance to actually win. But more than this I felt that the whole thing I’ve been a bit unfair and that bothered me more than losing.
In all honesty, at the point where the ship gets put back we both had to agree on it’s position. I guess I didn’t fully ‘get’ that at the time. I do now. Looking back at what I might have done differently, I can think of a couple of options. Call a judge would be one, leave it to fate and roll a red die might be another (hit/crit it’s on, blank/focus it’s off) but even if I’d just accepted that it’s off and not really my fault (but it also is for agreeing that position), I like to think my attitude would be better. I know I have a tendency to be sulky. It’s far from my best feature and I don’t (often) let it dictate my actions or mood. It’s also worth noting that EVERYTHING I’d felt up to this point was based on the assumption that I was right, the turn would fit and all would have been fine. Retrospectively, that seems quite arrogant I suppose but I think it’s more to do with thinking ‘well if I’m wrong then I’ll take the consequences’ and what was frustrating is that I will never actually know.
When talking about the game afterwards with others I do regret venting my feelings (in a typically British, understated, passive sort of way, but still) but I quickly became aware that my son would be watching me and how I reacted. I had to ask myself – what example do I want to set here? Shortly after, I pulled myself together.

I have since become aware of a gaming phrase (JARGON ALERT!)
It turns out I was being a bit ‘salty‘ about my loss (as I understand, a bit bitter and upset).

Sooooo saaaaaalteeeehhhhh

Thankfully the next game was much better, if a little bit ridiculous (with Chris F who is now a regular a my FLGS). Chris was flying 3 Alpha-class Star Wings and spent most of the game advanced slamming out of my arcs. The game went to time with no points destroyed (those 1.0 small ship rules!) and we went to final salvo. Having a higher number of dice (9 for me vs 6 for him) I fancied my chances but alas my dice abandoned me and I lost (TRAITORS!). Still, I enjoyed the game, felt like I was finally getting the hang of things and had a somewhat fighting chance.

So, first tournament and I was 0-4. I had finished 11th out of 12 (with my son finishing 9th I think). Not ideal but hey, we both had fun and got to play the most number of games in 1 day that we’d had at that point.

There was however a silver lining. The TO had some extra tokens and decided to randomise for a winner. He opened an app on his phone and everyone outside of the top 3 put 1 finger on the screen. Then the phone randomly selected 1 winner…and I won! We (and I use that terms loosely, I don’t think I’ve used them myself, like, ever) were now the proud owners of our 1st custom tokens!

The first rule of cool tokens is – the kid gets to use the cool tokens. Always.